Saturday, July 6, 2013

Children Must Not Feel Pain of Budget Cuts

My son and honor student at the Trexler MS Science Fair
I have contacted members of the Allentown School District board and advised them on what to do with the $9.6 million in state aid: My advice is to do what is morally right by students, and use the money to reinstate teachers. Arrogant and divisive board member Scott Armstrong is dead wrong when he says that we all must make sacrifices. Children should never have to "share the pain" of budget cuts. 

The community has spoken, Brave parents have made passionate pleas at several packed board meetings. We have rallied, and we have written letters. Some of us have been very active and dedicated to this cause since the first round of cuts to related arts 2 years ago. I have met with Dr. Belardi ( salary $132.5K) and other top administrators to discuss my concerns about the harmful narrowing of curricula. The Muhlenberg PTA met with Dr. Mayo (salary $170K) and presented a resolution to restore the arts and he told me "don't treasure what can't be measured." Appalling!

 The majority of board members, and many administrators have ignored parents. ASD school board director David Zimmerman said that teachers are the "lowest priority" in our school district budget. Board member Scott Armstrong said that given rising pension and other employee costs, he does not support restoring any teaching positions and would put the entire $9.6 million in state aid toward restoring reserves and reducing the tax hike. They must immediately be removed from our school board. 

There should be no debate. Providing a quality education to our children, as mandated by the state's constitution, is top priority, and ASD cannot fulfill the state's obligation without teachers. Robbing children of their education in order to reduce taxes is criminal. And only the worst criminals rob children. There should not be a two tiered public education system where urban students sit in overcrowded test prep factories, while other kids enjoy the arts and a safe, rich learning environment. Armstrong and ZImmerman are promoting inequality! They should both "share the pain" of being booted off the board and publicly shamed for their cruelty to children.

Parents, it's time to get angry, be a badass, and take back our schools! There is strength in numbers! Write letters. Speak up, speak loud, and speak often.

1 comment:

Mrs. Dottie said...

Randal Hendee
July 1, 2013 at 2:47 pm
"There are multiple federal cases waiting to be made with respect to inequitable school funding for minority children. Some state formulas for school funding inherently discriminate against urban school systems (systems already top-heavy with administrators and consultants, preventing funds from reaching classrooms and individual schools). It should be easy to prove that the bulk of minority children are being deprived of resources needed for even a minimal program of education.

It wouldn’t be a big leap to demonstrate systematic starvation of some urban public school systems for the purpose of establishing more privately run charter schools, resulting in substandard services for the kids that remain in the public system. Civil rights statutes and the equal protection clause could be brought to bear in this instance."